Howdy all! Well, last Tuesday I caused some raging controversy when I published my post on countries I recommend visiting in Europe and there was some backlash because I didn’t include France nor Germany in that list. Well, that’s not because I don’t like France or Germany as countries to visit I need to say up front!
I made a list and I went with the ones that really stayed in my heart as something special in some way or another, and somewhat different as well. Of course France and Germany offer loads to the traveller, and everything is subjective. Because I didn’t include them in a list of five when I had over forty to choose from, doesn’t mean I don’t think they are great countries, and I’ve personally had a great time in both. If the list was expanded to ten I would have definitely had both of them in, probably if the list was expanded to 8. But you have to draw a line somewhere and I feel like the five countries were particularly unique or significant in some way. Not that France and Germany aren’t, but those five stuck most prominently in my mind.
But today, with my destination of the MONTH, I am going to turn to France, and talk about my favourite city in all of France and one of my favourite cities in all of Europe, and that is the delightful Lyon in the south of the country.
So anyways, Lyon – what makes it special enough to be ‘Destination of the Month’??? well, loads really! It’s in a great part of Europe, towards the Mediterranean but not on it. It’s pretty well connected by train (and I presume other less desirable forms of transport) and it is located on the confluence of two great European rivers – the Seine and the Rhone. So that already makes it pretty epic!
It was a good 11 years ago that I visited Lyon, it was late August in fact, so the timing of this post is pretty much perfect. The weather then was boiling. It was so freaking hot – it was 39 – 40 degrees every day I was there. Right now, and I know Europe is still suffering through basically the hottest summer ever, is thankfully not quite that hot. Nevertheless, even though I was staying in a dorm (oh those were the days) with no air conditioning (again, those were the days) I still thoroughly enjoyed myself in this picturesque city.
The hostel was on a hill away from the centre heading towards the impressive Roman ruins. It was a great hostel, lively and friendly and plenty of people to chat with at any time of day. I adored exploring the Roman ruins where there is an amphitheatre on the top of the hill and then a museum attached which has ruins inside it.
The true centre of town I guess is the bit between the two rivers. Here there are squares and eateries and churches and more. You can wander the streets for hours or even find a pool to swim in as well which I did one afternoon which turned out to be THE thing to do. But it’s up on the hill that you’ll get the best views of the city. There’s a wonderful church there too called the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere.
Personally though I was enchanted by a tiny little puppet theatre where I saw a show centred around Guignol, a famous puppet character from Lyon. In fact, he was the main character featured in the nearby Museum de Marionettes which was a different sort of museum to be sure, and one worth checking out.
I’m looking up all the things I DIDN’T do or see in Lyon and there are plenty including a Museum of Film in Miniature (which I think I tried to see but was closed) and another museum about the confluence of the two famous rivers. Possibly not there in 2011, it looks new and flashy. I DID get to the Musee Lumiere, about the Lumiere brothers who were a big part of the birth of the artform of cinema. The house is magnificent and the museum itself inside is brilliant.
Lyon is one city I hope to go back to one day as I know I missed a lot, but I do remember loving the place. So if you’re wondering what cities in Southern France are worth a visit, I don’t think you can go wrong with Lyon!
Thanks for popping by today. May the Journey Never End!